A Sydney pub baron has revealed the reason new Premier Dom Perrottet didn’t move Freedom Day forward to this Friday – with a drop in vaccination rates to blame.
Craig Laundy, who co-runs his family’s multi-million dollar pub empire, said the hospitality industry are ready to open earlier, but he believes Freedom Day is still set for Monday October 11.
The new state leader was reportedly looking at bringing forward the scheduled end of lockdown as one of his first acts in the job, though there was some question if businesses and venues could get up and running before the return of eager customers.
‘The plan was definitely for the new Premier to stand up yesterday and announce that,’ Mr Laundy told Today on Wednesday morning.
‘But the long weekend, the good weather forced really low vaccination rates on Sunday and Monday. That plan came a cropper when that came to light yesterday morning,’ he said.
‘I do believe that the opening day for my industry will be on Monday.’
Freedom Day is still set for next Monday despite speculation NSW’s newest premier Dominic Perrottet was going to ease restrictions early for his first act in the job
Mr Perrottet had previously hinted he was looking at bring forward the scheduled day millions of Sydneysiders would be released from tough lockdown.
‘What I commit to doing is this afternoon, after the swearing-in, I will sit down with (Health Minister Brad Hazzard) and the health team, alongside Minister Ayres and members of the Crisis Cabinet, to have a discussion in relation to the roadmap,’ Mr Perrottet said on Tuesday.
‘But obviously, this is early days and we have done so well and my intention at this stage is that that day will remain on Monday for next week, but there are a number of issues that need to be looked at, and obviously, help is our number one priority right now.’
However, Mr Perrottet may be looking to allow students back into the classroom earlier than the scheduled date of October 18, Nine News reported.
NSW is expected to pass the threshold of 70 per cent of the eligible population being double vaccinated this week, triggering the restoration of many freedoms that had been foregone during a four-month lockdown next Monday.
These include the reopening of hospitality venues, retail, hairdressers and nail salons and other personal care services with strict limits on capacity.
The vaccine milestone will also trigger the resumption of gyms, sporting facilities, stadiums, theatres and indoor recreation.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship will also be allowed to take place for up to 50 vaccinated guests allowed to attend services.
Sydney’s gruelling four-month lockdown is set to end on Monday as planned (pictured at Bronte Beach)
NSW is expected to pass the threshold of 70 per cent of the eligible population being double vaccinated this week, triggering the restoration of many freedoms that had been foregone during a four-month lockdown next Monday
Before he took over from the recently resigned Gladys Berejiklian, Mr Perrottet’s public statements had revealed a less patient approach to re-opening the the state.
He’d been careful not to publicly disagree with the plan to restore many freedoms to the state’s residents when the 70 and 80 per cent double vaccination thresholds were passed, but had previously expressed frustration at the prospect of Australia becoming ‘a hermit kingdom’.
After the state was plunged into lockdown, there were claims Mr Perrottet had stridently opposed extending restrictions during a crisis cabinet meeting in July.
In response, Mr Perrottet told 2GB’s Ben Fordham: ‘My job is to advocate for businesses and keeping people in jobs and that’s what I do, what I don’t do is speak about the individual positions that ministers take in relation to those discussions.’
In a recent interview with Daily Mail Australia, Mr Perrottet predicted a ‘glorious summer’ ahead for NSW as life began to return to normal.
Mr Perrottet is understood to have stridently opposed extending Greater Sydney’s lockdown during a crisis cabinet meeting in July
‘Now as Australians, and particularly in NSW, we’ve got restrictions in place and you look overseas and we see the US Open packed, the Premier League with packed crowds and we go ”we want to have that”, and that’s what we’re going to have here in NSW as we open up in a safe way,’ he said.
He was particularly keen for nightclubs to re-open and community sport to resume.
‘Your early years at university and college are the best years of your life and we want to get the pubs and clubs open again and we want to bring fun back to our state,’ he said.
Mr Perrottet also said he hoped to see an end to lockdowns once the 70 and 80 per cent targets were hit.
‘From time to time, there may be the need for targeted restrictions. But ultimately, we’ve got to learn to live alongside this virus, and vaccination has been the key to doing it,’ the father-of-six said.
Mr Perrottet, 39, was named as premier on Tuesday following a meeting of Liberal MPs to elect a replacement for Ms Berejiklian, who suddenly resigned on Friday after being named as a person of interest in investigations being run by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
He defeated Planning Minister Rob Stokes in a party room vote for the leadership at 10am on Tuesday AEDT.
Mr Perrottet, 39, was named as premier on Tuesday following a meeting of Liberal MPs to elect a replacement for Gladys Berejiklian who resigned on Friday
Roadmap to freedom: All the changes for fully vaccinated NSW residents after hitting 70% jab target
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s freedom plan will kick off after the state hits 70 per cent of adults double dosed
Gatherings in the home and public spaces
· Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).
· Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms
· Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
· Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).
· Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.
· Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
· Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.
Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities
· Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.
· Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
· Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship
· Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
· Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
· Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing.
· Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.
· Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
· Carpooling will be permitted.
Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.
Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.
There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.
· Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.
· Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.
· Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.